Teri Lim — Consumer Attorneys Member of the Month
CAALA member Teri Lim has only been practicing law for two years, but becoming a trial lawyer is just the latest part of a twenty-year career that has included politics, social work and the legal profession.

She is a solo practitioner in Los Angeles and handles family law matters and business litigation, primarily within the Korean community.

Lim says that she was always interested in becoming a litigator and helping people, but her personal interests and career kept taking her in different directions from the actual practice of law.

She was born in Seoul, Korea and came to the United States as a sixth grader with her family in 1974.  She has lived in California for all but a couple of years ever since.

When she arrived in Los Angeles at age 11, Lim spoke no English.  Six years later she had not only mastered the language, she was accepted at UCLA and earned a Bachelor of Arts in History. 

After graduation, she was selected to receive a Coro Foundation Public Affairs Fellowship.  The Coro Fellowship is a nine-month, full-time postgraduate experiential leadership training program that teaches the skills necessary to assure that our democratic system of government more effectively meets the needs of its citizens.  Teri was selected as one of 12 Fellows based on a combination of group debate and individual interviews by a panel of nine judges.

In 1986 she left California to attend the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she earned her Master of Social Science.  While in school she worked briefly as a legal assistant at a Philadelphia law firm.

She returned to California and to politics in 1988 when she was selected as one of 18 participants in the Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellow program in Sacramento.  The California State Assembly Fellowship Program was founded in 1957 and is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious legislative fellowship programs. 

While in Sacramento Lim worked for prominent Democratic Assemblyman Robert Campbell and also got to watch the political-master Willie Brown in his prime.

After completing the Unruh Fellow program, Lim spent seven years in the legal profession, working as a paralegal for Radcliff, Rose and Frandsen and as a complaint analyst for the California State Bar Association.

Her career then took a detour from the law to providing service to people, when she became a Senior Children’s Social Worker for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.  Lim coordinated, monitored and evaluated foster care agencies to ensure quality services for minors in foster care placements.

It was then, nearly twenty years after earning her undergraduate degree,  that she decided to pursue a career as a lawyer.

In 2004 she received her Juris Doctor from Southwestern University School of Law.  While in law school, she was a Law Clerk for Superior Court Judge Bert Glennon.

She opened the Law Offices of M. Teri Lim in 2006.

Throughout her life, Lim has believed that you should provide service to your community.  Today she accomplishes that through many channels, including her church, the Young Nak Presbyterian Church.  She is also involved with numerous charitable organizations activities within the community including the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club where she is a newly selected board member.

She is also very active in the UCLA Korean Alumni Association.

When Teri joined CAALA last year, she immediately got involved.  Since she was still interested in politics, she joined CAALA’s Governmental Relations committee and participated in legislative visits and Lobby Day.

She also became a member of CAALA’s membership committee, and played a role in the formation of CAALA’s New Lawyer’s Committee.

As a member of the new lawyer’s group, she has taken the lead in creating a speaker and mentor program to allow CAALA members to work with inner-city high school and elementary school students.  Lim has made the contacts and laid the groundwork for CAALA members to work with students at Lincoln High School and Albion Elementary School in Lincoln Heights.  The members will be talking with the students about the Civil Justice System and providing career counseling about the legal profession.

CAALA President Amy Solomon has placed a high priority on creating programs for CAALA members to give back to the community, and has commended Teri for her efforts in accomplishing those goals.

Teri has two daughters, Leslie and Nicole.  Leslie is a high school senior who will be attending NYU in the fall and Nicole is in the eighth grade.

Because of her own community service as well as her hard work and dedication to help establish ways for CAALA members to be part of their community, Teri Lim is recognized as the Consumer Attorneys Member of the Month.

--Stuart Zanville